Bundle up your pooch before your next cold-weather run


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The weather outside is frightful — but that won’t stop you and your best friend from going on your daily run together. We’re glad you’re not letting the cold weather stop you from exercising; however, bringing your dog on a winter run can be harmful to your pooch if you do not take certain precautions.

The ASPCA recommends the following safety tips to remember the next time you take your dog on a run this winter:

  • Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags. A reflective, high-visibility vest or jacket is also a good option, especially if your dog is white and/or you run together in the evening.


  • Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice. Use pet-friendly ice melts — like Morton Safe-T-Pet — whenever possible.


  • Booties help minimize contact with painful salt crystals, poisonous antifreeze and chemical ice-melting agents. They can also help prevent sand and salt from getting lodged in between bare toes, causing irritation. Don’t have booties? Massaging petroleum jelly into paw pads before going outside helps to protect from salt and chemical agents. Moisturizing after a good toweling off helps to heal chapped paws.


  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear. Check out this all-weather, storm-ready soft shell jacket by Ruffwear.


  • Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime, sometimes causing dehydration. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help to keep her well-hydrated, and her skin less dry.


New to exercising with your dog? Learn how your four-legged friend can ramp up your workout plan.